Nowadays, the fact that Schönefeld used to house more than just an airport has fallen largely into oblivion. In the 1930s and 40s it was also one of Henschel & Sohn’s production sites.1 The locomotive company, which was founded in 1810 in Kassel, had begun producing armaments during First World War.2 During the 1930s it expanded its production in this sector, and developed into an armaments group3 producing not only military trucks, aircraft engines, and aircrafts but also the Tiger brand of heavy tank.4 Henschel & Sohn ended up being one of the most important arms manufacturers for the National Socialist state.5 It delivered, for instance, more than half of all the tanks the Wehrmacht owned at the start of the war.6 The expansion and maintenance of production was possible only because of the massive use of foreign forced laborers and prisoners of war, who were deported from their home countries and forced to work at Henschel & Sohn’s production sites in Kassel7 and Berlin-Schönefeld8.
Former Production Site: Schönefeld Airport
Photo on top: SDASM Archives, Flickr
2 https://www.hwph.de (last access: 02.12.19)
3 https://www.spiegel.de (last access: 02.12.19)
5 https://www.hwph.de (last access: 02.12.19)
6 http://www.kritischeuni.de (last access: 02.12.19)
8 https://www.zwangsarbeit-archiv.de (last access: 02.12.19)